Petition precedent

County clerk drafts resolution to prohibit circulation of petitions in courthouse

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The Moffat County Commissioners have directed the county clerk to draft a resolution that would prohibit circulating petitions inside the courthouse.

The resolution, requested on Monday, comes as members of the Concerned Citizens of Moffat County circulate petitions requesting the recall of Commissioners Marianna Raftopoulos and Les Hampton.

Linda Booker, chairperson for the Concerned Citizens of Moffat County, said she believes the recall effort is going well.

"We're at 30 percent right now and gaining steam," Booker said. She expected to know the exact number of signatures collected by early next week.

The resolution would enforce the county's no solicitation law. The resolution would consider party, candidate and recall petitions as forms of solicitation.

Technically, no one is allowed to sell anything inside the courthouse, but the rule is sometimes broken for children's groups such as the Girl Scouts, said Lila Herod, deputy clerk.

Craig Manger Jim Feree said the City Council has an administrative policy discouraging political activity in City Hall. Anyone engaging in political activity at City Hall is asked to go elsewhere, and it has never been a problem, he said. Lisa Doran of the Secretary of State's press office said there are no state laws governing petition circulation inside county buildings, and counties have the right to set their own laws as they see fit.

But Herod said Secretary of State officials warned the clerk's office that if the county permitted one petition to be circulated within the courthouse, it would set a precedent for solicitation on county government property.

Booker voiced no protest to the resolution and said the recall committee had no intention of circulating their petition on any government property. Booker has two recall petitions in her bookstore, On the Shelf. One petition is Booker's and the other is her assistant's. Booker said people have regularly been coming in to sign the petition.

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